Now or never No. 3: Jack Crawford

Back for my second post of the day, I wasn’t real sure if senior defensive end Jack Crawford qualified for being here.

He had himself a pretty good sophomore year in 2009, ranking ninth in the Big Ten with 14.5 tackles for losses to go along with 5.5 sacks, so it’s not like he hasn’t had some success at Penn State. A foot injury derailed his junior season early in the year, but he was all but invisible before that. Was he nursing the injury before it became too much to bare on the field? Who knows. It’s hard to believe something wasn’t wrong with Crawford early last season because he is simply too gifted to play as poorly as he did.

Injuries have continued to keep Crawford on the sideline this spring, but I’d rather see him healthy for preseason camp in August than gut through a spring practice in March and April. When you look at Crawford it’s hard not to see a good player. At 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds, Crawford is a beast of a man. He’s also so athletic that some (me included) thought he’d wind up playing tight end out of high school. He’s also only played football since his junior year of high school after coming to the United States as a basketball player from England.

But in reality it’s now or never for Crawford to realize his potential. While he does have a redshirt left if the injuries don’t subside, I just don’t see him being in Penn State’s plans past this season. There are some good young ends on the roster, the Nittany Lions recruited four in the 2010 class, and have their eyes on Harrisburg’s Noah Spence, one of the nation’s top prospects regardless of position.

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